Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Melissa Bashardoust Author Interview


Book Nerd Interview
Photo Credit: Teresa Marie Photography

Melissa Bashardoust (pronounced BASH-ar-doost) received her degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley, where she rediscovered her love for creative writing, children’s literature, and fairy tales and their retellings. She currently lives in Southern California with a cat named Alice and more copies of Jane Eyre than she probably needs. Girls Made of Snow and Glass is her first novel.

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Why is storytelling so important for all of us?

I think storytelling is how we make sense of the world and how we explore ideas and themes that fascinate or disturb us, but from a safe distance. We tell stories to understand ourselves and the world around us.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?

My creative writing professor in college told us once that she writes only 500 words a day. Giving myself permission to write a small but concrete chunk a day is what taught me the discipline I needed to actually finish a novel.

In your new book; GIRLS MADE OF SNOW AND GLASS, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it and why they should read your novel?

Girls Made of Snow and Glass is a female-centric retelling of Snow White. The book is told in alternative POVs—one being from Mina’s (the Evil Queen) perspective and the other from Lynet’s (Snow White). While certain forces set them against one another, the characters form a bond based on their similarities—fathers who do not see them for who they really are, magical abilities, and a deep-rooted desire to love and be loved. If you like fairy tale retellings, stories about the complexities of relationships between women, or stories about identity and self-discovery—or if you struggle with self-criticism, self-doubt, and figuring out how to love yourself despite what other people have told you—the book might appeal to or resonate with you.

For those who are unfamiliar with Mina, how would you introduce her?

The easiest way to introduce Mina is to say that she’s the Evil Queen in the original story, but “evil” is not entirely accurate. Mina is a young woman who has been told she is unlovable by her father and wants to prove him wrong even though she fears that he may be right.

What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating Lynet?

That I wanted to tell her story, too. Originally, I had planned to only write from the POV of the Evil Queen, but as I was making my way through the very first draft, I realized I wanted to tell a story about both the princess and the queen and how their relationship evolves.

Why do you feel you had to tell this story?

I wanted to tell this story because there are so many parts of Snow White that have mostly gone unchallenged for a long time. Instead of accepting at face value that the Evil Queen acts out of vanity and petty jealousy, I wanted to highlight the ways society tears women down by equating youth and beauty with self-worth and the way society turns women against each other by insisting that only one woman can be powerful or valuable at a time. I think these underlying forces in Snow White are still very real and relevant today.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?

I’d want to introduce Juliet Moreau of The Madman’s Daughter trilogy to practically all of my main characters, but especially Mina. They would probably relate to each other over their similarly difficult relationships with their fathers and their fears of becoming someone they don’t want to be.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?


I’m working on something that mixes elements of Sleeping Beauty, Rappaccini’s Daughter, and the Persian epic The Shahnameh. And that’s all I’ll say for now!

If you could live in any period in history, what would it be and why?

This is a tough one because the time periods I find the most interesting aren’t necessarily the ones I’d want to live through. Can I just live in the 90s forever?

If you wrote a journal entry today, what would it say?


It would probably just be about my cat, to be honest.

Something or someone you miss the most from childhood?

I miss the sense of unlimited possibility that I had in childhood. Every once in a while, you get a glimpse of it as an adult, but nothing compares to sitting at the dining room table at age five and declaring you want to be an opera singer when you grow up because it never occurs to you that you can’t.

Who has had the most influence in your life?

My big sister has been a big influence on me—we have a large age gap, but we’ve always been close, so a lot of her qualities have rubbed off on me. We even sound exactly alike.

When you looked in the mirror first thing this morning, what was the first thing you thought?

My hair looks huge.

TOP TEN DREAM VACATION SPOTS

1. Disneyworld (I’ve never been!)
2. Venice, Italy
3. Quebec, Canada
4. Salem, MA (witches!)
5. Iceland (elves!)
6. Scotland
7. Tokyo, Japan
8. Prague, Czechia
9. Nice, France
10. Barcelona, Spain



Frozen meets The Bloody Chamber in this feminist fantasy reimagining of the Snow White fairytale

At sixteen, Mina's mother is dead, her magician father is vicious, and her silent heart has never beat with love for anyone—has never beat at all, in fact, but she’d always thought that fact normal. She never guessed that her father cut out her heart and replaced it with one of glass. When she moves to Whitespring Castle and sees its king for the first time, Mina forms a plan: win the king’s heart with her beauty, become queen, and finally know love. The only catch is that she’ll have to become a stepmother.

Fifteen-year-old Lynet looks just like her late mother, and one day she discovers why: a magician created her out of snow in the dead queen’s image, at her father’s order. But despite being the dead queen made flesh, Lynet would rather be like her fierce and regal stepmother, Mina. She gets her wish when her father makes Lynet queen of the southern territories, displacing Mina. Now Mina is starting to look at Lynet with something like hatred, and Lynet must decide what to do—and who to be—to win back the only mother she’s ever known…or else defeat her once and for all.

Entwining the stories of both Lynet and Mina in the past and present, Girls Made of Snow and Glass traces the relationship of two young women doomed to be rivals from the start. Only one can win all, while the other must lose everything—unless both can find a way to reshape themselves and their story.


Praise for GIRL MADE OF SNOW AND GLASS

“Magic, mother-daughter conflict, and the quest for self-identity are given a dark and fantastical treatment in this chilling feminist adaptation of the "Snow White" fairy tale...a hauntingly evocative adaptation that stands on its own merits.”―Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“In Girls Made of Snow and Glass, Melissa Bashardoust has given us exquisite displays of magic, complex mother-daughter relationships, and gloriously powerful women triumphing in a world that does not want them to be powerful. A gorgeous, feminist fairy tale.”―Traci CheeNew York Times bestselling author of The Reader

“Girls Made of Snow and Glass is like reading a particularly wonderful and vivid dream, complete with imaginative magic, delightful characters, and beautiful language. Melissa Bashardoust's debut novel is everything a fairy tale should be.”―Jodi MeadowsNew York Times bestselling coauthor of My Lady Jane

You can purchase Girls Made of Snow and Glass at the following Retailers:
    


And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you Melissa for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust.

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
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6 comments:

  1. "What is your Favorite Fairy Tale?" "Beauty and the Beast," as conceived by Jean Cocteau or Walter Crane.

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  2. My favorite fairy tale is Cinderella.

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  3. I love Mulan and Beauty and the Beast.

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  4. My favorite fairy tale is Thumbelina.

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